To Overcome

2018 Retrospective

2018 was a bit of a rollercoaster.

Like last year, I kept a detailed todolist in Workflowy. As a result, I can look back at my goals for the year and see how I worked through them and what I accomplished.

One thing that I noted in my previous year’s retrospective was a desire to focus on non-software stuff, and I think I did fairly well on that.

Physical Health

Weight

My goal was to get to 170lbs, as a continuation of last year’s goal. I did not succeed, but I did make significant progress!

Weight loss chart from 2018

I started the year around 210lb, and got my monthly trendline to 190lb in mid-August. I credit my weight loss to riding my bike a shitload and the ketogenic diet. In mid-August, I started seeing someone seriously, and I no longer had quite so much time for the bike or discipline for keto. Rather than focus on losing weight, I was also focusing on increasing performance on the bike.

For next year, I’d like to finish out the weight loss (finally). Ketogenic dieting works really damn well for me, so I’ll just have to make it work with my lifestyle. Carbs are just so good for endurance performance, it’ll be annoying to take that performance hit.

Cycling

I didn’t have any goals coming into 2018, but I did develop some throughout the year. My brother got me into cycling, and I’m so thankful for his influence and for sharing that hobby with me. So of course I had to compete with him – I decided that I’d beat him in miles for the year. We were pretty close throughout the year, until I crashed on my mountain bike and bruised my ribs. He gained several hundred miles on me while I was recovering for nearly six weeks. Unfortunately for him, he broke his foot, and I am finishing the year with 4,351 miles, just barely passing his 4,312.

I wanted to do a lot more bikepacking and bike touring than I ended up doing.

I planned a big trip from Denver to Santa Fe, but I was totally unprepared for it. The route was dramatically more difficult than I anticipated, and despite all my riding and training, I was not capable of the 70-90 mile days that I needed to hit my schedule. Next year, I plan on mapping out the route better and accomplishing it, though probably aiming to hit half the daily distance.

I want to do a lot more overnight bikepacking trips, too. I did a section of the Colorado Trail a few times, and it was great. I should also do some ordinary street/paved tours, too, as those are also a lot of fun and a bit less challenging.

I have a few actual bike races planned! I’m excited to try that out and see how it goes, though I don’t expect to place well or do too good.

Lifting

I lifted about three times in 2018. I made 0 progress towards my strength goals of a 225lb bench press, 315lb squat, and 405lb deadlift. This year was almost entirely focused on cycling distance and endurance.

Next year, I’d like to focus more on a balanced health and fitness approach. So I will likely sacrifice some cycling performance to get stronger and lose weight.

Mental Health

This was a hard year for mental health for me. I managed to escape an emotionally abusive personal situation, and it left me with what I later realized was PTSD symptoms. Escape, recovery and reflection on these experiences has been a major theme of this year for me. I’ve learned and grown tremendously from this, and I am eternally grateful for my friends and the folks that supported me through this.

I signed up for fancy and expensive health insurance next year with Kaiser primarily so that I could finally begin getting better mental healthcare. Naturally, Kaiser doesn’t seem to live up to their legal obligations for mental health, which rules. I’m planning on beginning talk therapy in the new year, and I’m excited to see where that goes.

Write a Book

This was a goal for last year, but I didn’t work towards it at all. This year, I decided to put more energy into it. Early on, Sandy Maguire and I decided to team up to write a COMPENDIUM OF HASKELL. We came up with a sweet table-of-contents. Unfortunately, I was busy enough with work and other pursuits to contribute, and so Sandy took his parts of the table of contents and wrote Thinking with Types, a fantastic book on type-level programming in Haskell.

While I haven’t made as much progress as I want on this, I am happy to announce that I do have a table-of-contents, about 30 pages, and a working title: Haskell In Production. It will be an intermediate level manual on low variance, high success strategies for using Haskell at work.

When it comes closer to completion, I will have a more formal announcement.

Buy a House

I was all set to buy a house, but banks decided to revoke their approval when my employment contract status (1099) was known. Apparently they need 2 or more years at a single employer before they’ll consider a 1099 valid/stable income for extending a mortgage. Honestly, it’s probably good that I’m taking an extra year to save up for a down payment, but it is frustrating. I love living in Denver, and I can’t wait to have more lasting roots here.